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The Euro-Arab Foundation participates in training on violent radicalisation and jihadist extremism

This Thursday, the Euro-Arab Foundation gave the seminar Prevention of Radicalisation in the EU and Member States: policies, strategies and areas of action from multi-level and multi-agency approaches, as part of the University Course on violent radicalisation and jihadist extremism organised by the University Centre of the Civil Guard, attached to the Carlos III University of Madrid, and aimed at the Civil Guard, the judiciary and local authorities.

Javier Ruipérez, Director of Research and Projects at the Euro-Arab Foundation, and Daniel Pérez, researcher at the same, were in charge of this training, whose objectives were to contextualise the launch and consolidation of European prevention policies; to review the evolution of the psychosocial models that explain radicalisation and to address the multi-agency and multi-level prevention approach.

Spanish National counter-terrorism strategy

In this seminar, the Spanish National Strategy against Terrorism (ENCOT-2023), which was approved this week by the National Security Council, served as an example within the state plans that reflect the strategic recommendations of the European Commission.

The researchers from the Euro-Arab Foundation, both belonging to the Area of Prevention of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism, stressed that prevention policies, whether European, national or local, ‘must be based on scientific knowledge, for which it is essential to study both risk indicators and protection indicators, and that it should be a cross-cutting approach that can be used for jihadism as well as for multiple ideologies’.

On the one hand, the need to invest more in primary prevention, the first level of the pyramidal representation of society to which the majority of the non-radicalised population belongs, was stressed. The second level covers the population susceptible to radicalisation and the third level covers radical or terrorist individuals.

For the Euro-Arab experts, there is a risk of population transfer from the first level to the third, due to the current process of polarisation, and the measures to be taken in that case would be much more difficult to implement and much more costly. To avoid this, they said, “it is essential to focus on prevention policies in protection and on people’s resilience and autonomy”.

Finally, the importance of “bringing European policy down to the local level”, through national plans, and ensuring that there is feedback, i.e. “that the local level also inspires national plans and European policies to combat violent radicalisation and extremism”, was also highlighted.

The Euro-Arab Foundation, through its research group, has carried out various training activities on the prevention of radicalisation in European projects in which it participates, in Spanish universities or through the European Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN).

Prevention and coping with violent radicalisation. A guide for frontline practitioners. Published by the University of Cordoba and co-published by CIFAL and the Euro-Arab Foundation.

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EN Mirad News Projects

MIRAD project ends bringing together research, policy and practice in the fight against multi-ideological radicalisation

The final event of the European MIRAD project ended two years of work dedicated to assestment and prevention of radicalisation. The objectives of the MIRAD project were achieved thanks to the cooperation of the project consortium partners, to which the Euro-Arab Foundation belongs,  from seven European countries, together with a group of experts from the MIRAD Advisory Board, the KES Advisory Council and members of the Expert Boards on Jihadist Extremism and Right-wing Extremism.

The event was opened by Christiane Hoehn, Principal Advisor to the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, who acknowledged the good work of the MIRAD project and its alignment with the strategic orientations of the European Commission. The final conference was attended by leading practitioners, prison staff, security forces, probation officers, NGOs and policy makers from different EU and non-EU countries.

During the event, the results of the project were presented, such as a tool to assess the reliability and capacity of NGOs to support de-radicalisation processes. Among the most expected results, the adaptation of the IRS risk assessment tool to consider the role of gender and ideology in the radicalisation process with a focus on right-wing extremism and jihadist extremism stands out.

Besides, a series of collaborative protocols for multi-agency transition were presented, stemming from the key role played by CSOs/NGOs and volunteers in promoting reintegration programmes, fostering inter-agency cooperation. The results of mixed-method training courses (training of trainers, e-Learning course, virtual reality training scenarios) to maximise the results of radicalisation disengagement and reintegration programmes were also made public.

Some of the conclusions reached at the final MIRAD event were the still high threat of islamist terrorism and the growing danger of right-wing extremism. The need for rehabilitation outside and inside prison and the need to assess what happens after prison was also addressed, as well as the identification of prisoners vulnerable to radicalisation as a basis for prevention and disengagement, and the promotion of models and protocols for inter-sectoral and inter-institutional collaboration.

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EN PARTES News Projects

The Euro-Arab Foundation organises a conference in Melilla on interreligious dialogue and hate crime prevention

Participatory approaches to the protection of places of worship is the title given to the forum hosted by the Government Delegation in Melilla on Thursday, organised by the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies in the framework of the PARTES project funded by the European Commission. The Government Delegate, Sabrina Moh, opened the event by thanking Melilla for having been chosen as the venue for this forum and pointing out the importance of working for the prevention of hate crimes, inter-religious dialogue, tolerance and respect.

“We are witnessing the emergence of messages of polarisation and tension, and I think it is vital to work to prevent hate crimes, which is something that we must do together institutions and entities while focusing on this issue so that society is aware of this problem and tools are put in place to put an end to it”, Moh indicated.

On his part, the Executive Secretary of the Euro-Arab Foundation, Antonio Sánchez Ortega, recalled that the aim of the organisation he represents is to create bridges of collaboration, knowledge and research. He therefore recognised that Melilla is a “privileged” place, as it is an “estuary of civilisations and cultures which perfectly demonstrates this coexistence and this model of participation”. Sánchez stressed that the results of these conference “will feed into the PARTES project and it will serve as a model for transfer to civil society”.

The working session was also attended by the representative of the European Commission’s funding programme, Tamara Muñoz, representatives of the State Security Forces and Corps, and members of the city’s religious communities, among other civil society organisations.

The PARTES project

The European PARTES project started on 31 March 2023 and is scheduled to end in April 2025. It proposes to develop, through an empirical, inclusive and participatory methodology, a comprehensive prevention model for the protection of places of worship (synagogues, mosques, and churches) in the European Union, thus also preventing hate crimes against religious communities.

The Euro-Arab Foundation leads the “Threats and Responses Overview” Work Package which coordinates the research to establish an overview of attacks on religious communities, hate crimes against them, and existing protection measures. It identifies also good practices for cooperation between religious institutions and public authorities, for the protection of places of worship. The Euro-Arab was also in charge of organising the participatory workshop in Melilla, held on Wednesday at the UGR, and the inter-religious forum on Thursday at the headquarters of the Government Delegation in Melilla.

Euroarab researcher and organiser of the PARTES conference in Melilla, José Luis Salido, giving the participatory workshop, held at the UGR.
Euro-Arab Foundation’s researcher and organiser of the PARTES conference in Melilla, José Luis Salido, giving the participatory workshop, held at the UGR.
Inauguración del taller participativo, celebrado en la UGR, a cargo de César Solano, decano de la Facultad de Ciencias Salud (UGR), Tamara Muñoz, responsable de programa de la Dirección General de Migraciones y Asuntos de Interior de la Comisión Europea y José Luis Salido, investigador de la Fundación Euroárabe y organizador de las jornadas.
Opening of the participatory workshop, held at the UGR, by César Solano, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences (UGR), Tamara Muñoz, Programme Officer at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, and José Luis Salido, researcher at the Euro-Arab Foundation and organiser of the conference.
Meeting of the Euro-Arab researchers, José Luis Salido and Daniel Pérez, with Fadela Mohatar, Councillor for Culture, Cultural Heritage and the Elderly of Melilla and Marta Marzol, advisor for Culture of the Council, in the framework of the PARTES project conference.
Meeting of the Euro-Arab researchers, José Luis Salido and Daniel Pérez, with Fadela Mohatar, Councillor for Culture, Cultural Heritage and the Elderly of Melilla and Marta Marzol, advisor for Culture of the Council, in the framework of the PARTES project conference.
Inauguration of the forum 'Participatory approaches to the protection of places of worship' at the Government Delegation of Melilla, with the Government Delegate, Sabrina Moh, and the Executive Secretary of the Euro-Arab Foundation, Antonio Sánchez Ortega.
Opening of the forum ‘Participatory approaches to the protection of places of worship’ at the Government Delegation of Melilla, with the Government Delegate, Sabrina Moh, and the Executive Secretary of the Euro-Arab Foundation, Antonio Sánchez Ortega.
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EN Shield News Projects

The SHIELD project comes to an end with a Guide for the Protection of Places of Worship

On 28 February, the final conference of the European SHIELD project took place in Brussels with the presentation of the results as a formula for coexistence between people of different faiths. The event was attended by the programme manager of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, Tamara Muñoz, as well as representatives from ten European countries and the three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). The project has aimed to identify and propose concrete solutions to burning issues of common interest, such as assessing the risk and vulnerability of places of worship to potential terrorist attacks, providing a comprehensive guide (downloadable here) to increase security.

SHIELD Handbook
SHIELD Handbook

During the two years of the project, SHIELD has hosted a number of dialogue meetings with the aim of countering religious extremism, with the co-participation of state security forces, society and security technology companies. The final recipients of the results of the SHIELD project, the representatives of religious communities, have played a decisive role in providing advice and suggestions based on cultural reflection when talking about the physical security of infrastructures, aspects such as the environment, culture, social inclusion and inter-religious dialogue are underlined.

José Mª Riera, researcher at the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies, participating in the final SHIELD conference.
José Mª Riera, researcher at the Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies, participating in the final SHIELD conference.

At the final conference it became clear that synagogues, churches and mosques are of vital importance for social coexistence and cohesion in the European Union. However, they have been and can become targets of potential terrorist attacks, as witnessed in the last decade. For those involved in SHIELD, it is necessary to create a cultural shield that defends individuals and religious communities, but it is also necessary to create opportunities to work and take part in projects that facilitate encounter and knowledge sharing. The establishment of projects such as SHIELD between diverse faith identities promotes mutual understanding and increases respect, a synergy that culminates in the development of a common strategy for the reduction of threats and the enhancement of religious freedom.

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EN Mirad News Projects

The Euro-Arab Foundation takes part in the 23rd Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology (EUROCRIM)

In a panel held this morning dedicated to the MIRAD project, Josep García Coll, researcher at the Euro-Arab Foundation, and Mariyan Sabev and Darina Sarafova, from the Centre for the Study of Democracy, presented a paper on ‘Assessine risk of violent extremism in prison and probation contexts’, focusing on the development of risk assessment tools, specifically for violent radicalisation of the extreme right and jihadist radicalisation.

The presentation outlined the main elements and risk indicators to be taken into account when carrying out risk assessments of people convicted of violent extremism offences. The development of these tools is motivated by the needs of professionals working on the front line with people deprived of liberty or who are moving towards probation or parole. The differentiation in the tools used according to the ideologies mentioned will improve the design and implementation of existing rehabilitation and reintegration programmes and thus achieve better results in the disengagement and reintegration into society of these persons.

Regarding right-wing extremism, research shows that the main risk factors include social marginalisation, perceived threats to traditional values, belief in conspiracy theories, anti-immigrant sentiment, political and social polarisation, economic insecurity, and exposure to extremist networks.

With respect to jihadist violent extremism, recent literature shows that the main risk factors are related to feelings of community grievances, complete distrust of the government and institutions, perceived ingroup superiority and other psycho-social factors like narcissism, sensation-seeking, cognitive closure or social alienation, amongst others.

The other two presentations held at EUROCRIM focused on ‘Training prison, probation and community staff on radicalisation and violent extremism: Results from a cross-sectoral and mixed-method training initiative‘ by IPS (Innovative Prison Systems) and on ‘Interinstitutional collaboration towards successful disengagement and social reintegration of violent and terrorist offenders‘ developed by the Centre for the Study of Democracy.

The MIRAD project (Multi-ideological Radicalisation Assessment towards Disengagement) is funded by the European Commission’s Internal Security Fund. The consortium is coordinated by the Emerging Security and Defence Team of the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts in France (le cnam) and includes partners from Portugal, Poland, Bulgaria, France, Greece and Belgium, as well as the Euro-Arab Foundation in Spain.

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EN PARTES News Projects

The Euro-Arab Foundation participates in the PARTES project on the protection of places of worship

PARTES project (Participatory approaches to protecting places of worship) proposes a comprehensive model for the protection of places of worship (PoW) that is evidence-based, inclusive and participatory, in order to effectively combat the security threats posed to synagogues, mosques and churches in the European Union, thus also preventing hate crimes against religious communities.

The Euro-Arab Foundation is part of the consortium and leads the “Threats and Responses Landscape” work package, which coordinates research to establish an overview of attacks on religious communities, hate crimes against them and existing protection measures, as well as to identify good practices for cooperation between religious institutions and public authorities, and for the protection of places of worship.

PARTES aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Map the specific threat landscape of involved religious communities (incl. cyber threats); 
  • Assess and derive lessons learned on vulnerabilities and existing security concepts of involved religious communities and exchange best practices on protective measures Europe-wide; 
  • Establish cooperation and communication structures and channels between religious communities and local authorities; 
  • Develop proactive and preventive security measures; 
  • Carry out trainings and workshops with religious and local authorities; 
  • Raise awareness among the wider population about the threat and strategies of extremist organisations targeting places of worship and involve them in prevention strategies. 

The methodology employed in the project is multi-disciplinary and participatory in nature, involving researchers and end-users within and beyond the consortium, and also citizens. PARTES employs a variety of methods, from desk research and interviews to live labs, workshops and dialogue forums.

The project seeks to make a significant contribution to the improvement of the overall protection of public spaces through the creation and enhancement of PoW’s preventive and security concepts by taking the threat landscape, the online dimension and pre-attack, preventive phases and measures into account, as well as by the newly established communication structures with authorities.

The motivation for this project lies in the recent trend of attacks and hate crimes, both in the digital and physical world, targeting places of worship in Europe and around the world. These attacks are symptomatic of a growing violent extremist phenomenon in Europe, fuelled by extremist rhetoric, ignorance of other religions and cultures, and insufficient societal engagement in preventing extremism.The project considers that this phenomenon needs to be addressed in a more complex way, going beyond architectural security and police presence.

PARTES is funded by the Internal Security Fund of the European Commission. The consortium involves experts of 15 institutions from 10 European countries, where the project coordinator is the Austrian Institute of International Affairs (oiip).

More information about the project on the official website: www.partes-project.eu

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EN Shield News Projects

SHIELD project virtual training on the protection of places of worship

The EU-funded SHIELD project is holding a virtual training on 17 May on the protection of places of worship for representatives of Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities.
The project aims at the interfaith protection of places of worship against possible terrorist attacks. This practical course taught in English will be held online behind closed doors with the project partners and attendees and will last five hours (10:00 – 15:00 CET).

This training session will involve law enforcement, security and risk detection experts and religious organizations. The objective is to train religious leaders in security and teach them how to quickly report suspicious behavior to the relevant authorities, as well as to sensitize their respective communities to the risk of a terrorist attack.

All participants will be trained on security measures, communication, cooperation and prevention. During the session, three specialized workshops will be implemented about each religious community, in order to prepare the different actors to face a possible attack taking into account their specific needs, in order to be able to adopt customized methodological, technological and procedural solutions.

SHIELD is financed by the Internal Security Fund of the European Union and is is comprised of 19 members from 10 countries (Austria, Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Poland and Portugal), including the Euro-Arab Foundation. The project is coordinated by the partner SYNYO GmbH from Austria.

You can find more information about SHIELD on its official website (https://shieldproject.eu)